The biggest news since the last issue (and probably the past year) was the huge 1-9th reunion that took place in Las Vegas the 1st week of July during the annual Vietnam Helicopter Pilots' Assn. reunion. But firstly, I have a big apology to make to Al DeFLERON and Loel EWART who put their hearts and souls into organizing the Bullwhip Squadron Reunions. In the last column, I gave a capsule history of the 9th CAV as a lead-in to announce this year's BWS Reunion, already slated to be the biggest Vietnam era (or any era) 1-9th get-together ever! But I neglected to add the part about the reunion. This issue should be going out about the time of the reunion on Oct. 11-13 in Ozark/Ft. Rucker. If you get this before then and want info, Al is at 334-692-5685 or e-mail <firstname.lastname@example.org> and Loel is at email@example.com, or go to <http://www.bullwhipsquadron.org/>. If not a member, you should be.
At Vegas, former1-9th officers, NCOs and EMs and their families got together for the biggest Unit reunion the VHPA has ever seen. Loren McANALLY (B, Lift pilot, '67 <firstname.lastname@example.org>) popped big bucks for a 1-9th "Skybox" overlooking the big Riviera Hotel auditorium, to be used as a rendezvous site for 1-9th folks. Bert CHOLE email@example.com, former CO of Echo Troop, said that Louis "Rocket" ROCHAT (A, E Trp Scout and Cobra pilot, '70-71,181 High Oak, Universal City, TX 78148, 210-658-1651) used the Skybox as a launching platform to take a shortcut to the beer booth, but forgot his rotors weren't in the green and that he had only one good skid. At least came out better than back in '71. Thanks mainly to the efforts of Bob TREDWAY (C Trp CO, '69-70 <Bobtredway@aol.com>), so many former C Troopers and their families decided to go to Vegas that they had to stay across the street at the Stardust, dubbed the "CavDust". Local arrangements were made by hosts Michael SMITH (C Trp Lift pilot, '70-71, 2498 Shatz Dr., Las Vegas, NV 89119, 702-438-2643 <CaseFiler@aol.com>) and Vegas VHPA founder and "ex" President, Lad VAUGHN (A Trp, HHT Lift, '69-70, <firstname.lastname@example.org>). They also arranged for a double suite for everyone to meet each day. C Trp also sponsored a banquet. Although all attendees couldn't be there, Bob TREDWAY estimated there were about 40 troopers and another 28 guests. Of the 1-9th KIA families in attendance that I know about were: Jeannie ANDERSON and family, daughter of WO1 John E. ANDERSON, C-1-9 CAV, KIA 7-21-'69; Julie KINK, sister of WO1 David Kink, C-1-9th CAV, KIA 8-3-'69 [John ANDERSON and David KINK were in the same Loach crash]; Rich & Andrea CAHILL and family, nephew & niece of WO1 Bill J. CAHILL, C-1-9 CAV, KIA 10-18-'70; and Lew ROBINSON and wife, son of WO1 Bill J. CAHILL. I sincerely apologize for leaving anyone out. Julie KINK produced a poignant "After Actions Report" of her VHPA experience, a tidbit of which follows: "There are bonds among people who served together that transcend everyday life, that those reading this know very well. There also is a bond among people who weren't there, but whose lives and hearts were changed forever by what happened in Vietnam. Many of us KIA family members were "alone" with Vietnam, as I was, for a long time. Some still are. I can tell you, "Vietnam" is a big thing to be alone with; simply put, it's better when you aren't alone with it any longer. I've known this since 1996, the first time I ever met another sister who lost her brother in Vietnam..." "Attending reunions with buddies reaffirms our existence and worthiness, and our small place in the world and in history. For KIA families it also reaffirms the small place that our loved ones had in this world, and helps us realize what they did in Vietnam. In the eyes and the actions of those who survived, we see glimpses of the men our fallen may have become, had they lived. What an amazing thought -- if they could only be here for even one more day! They can't be here, so a small handful of us are here instead, representing them as best we can. There is no greater tribute than the warm welcome that we receive. I have a heart overflowing with thanks for everyone who played a part in welcoming me and the other families, and in making this past reunion such a significant experience for so many." Julie is an Honorary Member 9th Cavalry Regiment and an Honorary Life Member Bullwhip Squadron. Her reunion pics are at: <http://groups.msn.com/JulieKink/vhpareunion2002.msnw>, and more at <http://cavalier44.my100megs.com/>.
Jerry BERGGREN (C Trp CE '66, 5175 S. Cole Rd., Boise, ID 83709, 208-362?0261 <email@example.com>) e-mailed: "You mentioned in the Saber a VA claim in which Bill STROBEL was killed. That occurred on July 9, 1967 and is mentioned in Matt Brennan's book Headhunters on page 171. It is also listed in the VHPA accident report UH-1D 63-08776. ROGERS and HAZELWOOD were the taxi drivers. DORSETT was the gunner and MARTIN, HODSON, WISE, VIIG(?), and MOHR were the passengers. Bill STROBEL was CE in Charlie Troop lift section. He was drafted while working for the New York State Forestry Sevice. He came from Amhurst, NY and was a hell of a nice guy! The last time I saw Bill he was standing at the foot of my hospital bed at Qui Nhon with Lt. CRAWFORD. That would have been just before Christmas 1966. If I had not written to Bill and given him my half interest in the hootch at An Khe, he might still be alive today. But that is a different story... A few weeks ago I was in a restaurant in Eagle, Idaho when a fellow came in and asked who owned the green truck. It turned out to be pilot James McKNIGHT from Garden Valley. He had spotted my 9 CAV license plate. That makes two from the Ninth Cav in Garden Valley, Idaho! Hope to talk with him more in Alabama."
John FLANAGAN (Saber Blue 37, B-1-9 CAV, Apr 67-68; 334 University Drive, Radcliff, KY 40160 <SaberBlue@aol.com>) sent "It was great meeting and talking to you at VHPA in Vegas. I want to thank you for the kind words in the SABER about my book. One minor correction though, I was in B Troop. No problem though, I would be proud to be in any of the 9th CAV troops. Thanks again. Hope to see you at Bullwhip. Bring your book I will glad to personalize it for you, or send it to me and I will return it to you. And Walker, thanks for taking so much of your time and energy in writing the column for the SABER. I appreciate your effort." John, you're too gracious in forgiving me for screwing up which Troop you were in! My copy of your book will accompany me to Ozark, AL in October for the biggest 1-9th reunion EVER!
Lionel DE LA ROSA (DG HHT, C, '65-66, Blues '69-70, 14835 N 35th St., Phoenix, AZ 85032, 602-992-6436 <firstname.lastname@example.org>) sent: "The 9th Cavalry Journey Home. September 1, 2002. At 11:30 AM, under a blistering sun, with temperatures over one hundred degrees, the Buffalo Soldiers from the 9th Memorial Cavalry started their horseback ride that, if successful, will end in New Orleans 3 1/2 months and 2,200 miles later. Escorted by horse mounted members of the Scottsdale Police Department, Maricopa County Posse and other dignitaries, William (Bill) McCURTIS, 9th Memorial Cavalry (I had a dream of riding from Phoenix to New Orleans) departed from the Gila River Indian reservation located south of Phoenix and only time will tell if he is successful. Along the way, they will visit several sites which the original Buffalo Soldiers served, such as Fort Huachuca in Arizona, Fort Maynard and Ruidoso in New Mexico. In Texas, the unit will make stop at Fort Bliss in El Paso, Houston and San Angelo. Mr. McCURTIS will takes vials of dirt from the graves of Buffalo Soldiers buried in Arizona and will continue to collect dirt from the graves of Buffalo Soldiers as he rides through Arizona, New Mexico and Texas." Wow!
Congressman Bonier of Ohio, a Vietnam Vet, is working hard to get Gary McKIDDY, former C Trp Scout gunner, awarded the MOH. Gary rescued Observer Jim SKAGGS (933 Cherry Ln., Troy, IL 62294, 618-667?6415) and died trying to get pilot WO Tommy WHIDDON out after their Loach got shot down on May 6, '70. Thanks much to those of you who contacted your Congressmen on Gary's behalf.
Jack SCHWARZ (C Trp pilot, 11/70-3/7,and C Trp Webmaster <http://cavalier44.my100megs.com/>, 2704 Oak Road, DeLand, FL 32720, 904-734-3823 <email@example.com>) alerted me to a Guest Book message left by a Jonathan BERNSTEIN (3002 4th, Apt 156, Lubbock, TX 79415, 806-773-8412, <CobraHistorian@aol.com>): "I am currently writing my first book for Osprey Publishing, tentatively titled "US Army AH-1 Cobra Units of the Vietnam War". I am looking to interview air and groundcrewmen about their impressions of the Cobra, memorable missions, etc. I am also very interested to see if anyone has any photos of Snake #69-16437. It served with C Troop from August 1970 to May 1971. After being modified to S-Cobra standard, it flew for several years with the NJ National Guard and now resides at the New Jersey Aviation Hall of Fame in Teterboro, NJ. I thank you for your time, and look forward to speaking with some of you." Jon I certainly must have flown that bird many time, though I was "assigned to the "Crystal Ship". I directed BERNSTEIN to Cobra CEs from that era, Glenn "Mac" McCLOY (19 W. Lockport Rd., Plainfield, IL 60544, 815-254-2437, CrystalShipCE@aol.com), Marshall H. "Bones" MARING (5110 E Mason Lake Dr., W., Grapeview, WA 98546, 253-770-9486 <firstname.lastname@example.org>), and Mel ARMOUR (34050 W. 9 Mile Rd., Farmington, MI 48335, 810-743-1635
VetVNVMC@aol.com) as well as some of our Cobra pilots from then. Jon's going to picture my (actually McCLOY's) "Crystal Ship" in his book. Jon's next project will be USMC Cobras, and then perhaps Huey gunships.
Speaking of Cobra books, Randy ZAHN (C Trp, '70-71, 18760 Katelyn Circle, Eagle River, AK 99577, 907-696-8692 <email@example.com>) has a publisher for his book "Snake Pilot". Cavalier 24 says the prepublication release has now been issued by his publisher at <www.brasseysinc.com/Books/1574885650.htm>. It won't be out till March '03 but Amazon.com is accepting pre-orders for $19.57. FYI, Wayne MUTZA <firstname.lastname@example.org> should be getting finished with his book on the OH-6A "Loach". For those of you interested in the helicopter war, I have compiled an extensive list which Jack SCHWARZ has on his C Trp site http://cavalier44.my100megs.com/> under "Library".
HONOR ROLE: From the B Trp website Guest Book, Bob KILPATRICK reported that Frank J. MAHER III (B-1-9, ' 67-68) died July 16, 2002 at the VA Center, Clarksburg, WV. Mr. MAHER was chief of personnel management at the United States Military Academy, West Point, for 28 years before retiring in 1997.
Many of us former C Troopers mourn the recent passing of David "Daveski" DZWIGALSKI of Boon, MI, after a lingering struggle with cancer. He served at first as C Trp Lift CE, but mostly as Scout gunner between 6/6/69-12/10/70. His daughter Jennifer <email@example.com> and sister Cecelia <Cmvaught99@aol.com> kept us all informed on his condition before he died. Just days before his death, two former Scout gunners drove to visit him: "Mick" MICHLIN (5609 Nicollet Ave., Minneapolis, MN 55419, 612-869-4852 <firstname.lastname@example.org> and Phil NORTON (7781 Katherine St., Taylor, MI 48180, 313-291-4625 <email@example.com>). Rest in peace, Dave.
Anyone planning to attend this year's Veterans' Day activities in D.C. should go to this very informative site: <http://vhfcn.org/vetday2002.htm>. The CAV, as always, will have a hospitality room and hold the annual Ia Drang banquet.
Until next time, "We Can, We Will!"